Q1: I have never flown RC airplanes before, how do I start?
First of all, welcome to a fun hobby!
I was in your position, too. I had no background in RC except for a couple of off the shelf RC cars when I was a kid. I had to start at the very bottom and learn how to fly RC airplanes first, before trying to figure out how to make FPV work.
Many beginners and experienced flyers gather there to discuss builds, review aircraft, and swap video footage.
When you feel ready, you could start with a RTF kit or a basic trainer plane. This article will give you some ideas on how to proceed.
Q2: I know how to fly RC, but how do I start flying FPV?
A good place to start is by reading this article here. You have a huge advantage if you’re already comfortable with RC flying, but you might want to check out this article about selecting video and RC frequencies.
Q3: What are LiPo batteries?
LiPo batteries power most electronic products today, and allow use of cell phones and laptop computers for hours between charges. LiPo batteries are noted for their high energy density and capability to discharge quickly.
Check out these articles for more information about LiPo batteries:
Q4: How much does FPV cost?
Contrary to popular belief, FPV is not so expensive, and the costs seem to decrease every few months. With the rapid development of inexpensive electronics and mass-produced foam airframes, it’s possible to build a useful FPV aircraft for just a couple of hundred dollars.
If you have deep pockets, you can upgrade to the moon. You may not get more enjoyment though, as complex components introduce many more sources of error into the overall FPV RC system.
Certain upgrades, such as high-definition (HD) recording cameras, long-range RC systems, and antenna trackers will increase costs significantly.
The bulk of the cost for a basic bare-bones system is in the camera, video transmitter, and RC transmitter/receiver. Prices for these components can range from $30-$100 apiece depending on desired features.
Q5: Do I need any kind of license to fly FPV?
Technically yes, a license is required to operate all video frequencies and long-range UHF RC systems. In practice, this has not been enforced.
But why not get it for fun?
Obtaining an amateur radio license is inexpensive, interesting, and enriching. The basic Technician Class License exam is a 35 question multiple-choice affair, and a question and answer bank is available for free online. They want you to pass!
You can read more about amateur radio and FPV RC regulations here.
Or you can check out the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). (They run the licensing process)
Q6: Who can I hire to build my FPV aircraft setup?
More and more companies are offering RTF kits that contain all the equipment you’ll need to get up and running in the FPV RC hobby.
A good place to browse is ReadyMadeRC.
TeamBlackSheep will build their multirotors for you. Custom airplane or flying wing setups may be harder to order due to shipping logistics.
Q7: How old do I need to be to fly FPV?
No minimum age limit exists for RC or FPV flying. If you understand the technology well enough, and recognize the responsibility that comes with operating a remote control aircraft, FPV RC can be a rewarding hobby for young people.
Q8: What frequencies should I use for radio control and video?
Although there are many combinations of video and RC frequencies, a few have been proven to work well with one another under certain conditions.
You may read more about the factors to consider when selecting video and RC frequencies here.
Q9: What is a ground station and how do I make one?
A ground station describes the system that receives the video signal and displays it visually. Ground stations can vary greatly in complexity, but usually have the following equipment at a minimum:
- Receive antenna
- Video receiver
- Method of display – goggles or monitor
- Battery to power the display and video receiver
This article explains the basics of an FPV ground station. Many examples of ground station designs and detailed build logs can be found on the FPVLAB forum as well.